Video game developer Bioware is responsible for some of the most successful role-playing games of the last two decades. The studio found early success working with the Dungeons and Dragons license, releasing the critically acclaimed Baldur’s Gate in 1998. The studio would later go on to work with the Star Wars license, creating Knights of the Old Republic – one of the greatest Star Wars games of all time.
Though the studio would later return to the Star Wars franchise with their MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic, Bioware first crafted a space opera all their own. 2007 saw the release of Mass Effect, an original IP set in our galaxy in the year 2183. The story followed Commander Shepard, an elite human soldier tasked with hunting a rogue special agent, while simultaneously trying to save all life in the galaxy.
Mass Effect 3, the final installment in the trilogy, released in 2012 to critical acclaim. Though the game’s ending proved to be divisive and more than a little controversial, it effectively ended Shepard’s story and left the franchise open to a new protagonist. Mass Effect: Andromeda is the next game in the series, taking players out of the Milky Way and into unexplored territory.
The latest teaser (above) celebrated the franchise’s history while driving home the point that Shepard will not be the protagonist. At first glance, the trailer doesn’t reveal much that wasn’t confirmed during the game’s announcement at E3. However, a closer look at the video may have revealed the identity of the franchise’s new lead character. The teaser starts with footage from mankind’s earliest forays into space travel, notably including a clip featuring Sally Ride, the first American woman to travel to space. Immediately following her appearance, the video shows the cockpit of a ship leaving our galaxy behind.
The cockpit has a family photo taped on the console, presumably featuring the new protagonist and their children. The photo is also likely taken on Earth, indicating this game, or at least the overarching mission, begins well before the events of the original trilogy. However, the most interesting detail is tucked away in the bottom-left corner of this shot – a dog tag that appears to read “Ryder” (hat tip to Inquisitr).
Is our newest protagonist named Ryder? The evidence seems to indicate as much. The original Mass Effect trilogy followed Commander Shepard, named after the astronaut Alan Shepard – the first American to travel into space. Considering the source of the original character’s name, it’s not much of a stretch to think that this new protagonist might be named after the first American woman to go to space.
Many have pointed out that the song that played during the Andromeda‘s reveal was Johnny Cash’s version of “(Ghost) Riders in the Sky: A Cowboy Legend”, originally written by Stan Jones. The song fits the tone of the reveal trailer and the idea that the character is exploring a new frontier. However, it’s hard to see the song’s title, the clip of Sally Ride, and the dog tag as a simple set of coincidences. It’s far more likely that someone named Ryder will be leading mankind’s latest venture into the cosmos.
Mass Effect: Andromeda is scheduled for release during the 2016 holiday season.